Keith Wishum: Always
Sometimes the pressure is unbearable. “What if I blow it?” we worry. “There is so much riding on this.” How can we move forward when we are so unsure of our next step?
In the summer of 1984, a young Olympic diver was attempting to capture gold medals in both springboard and platform events at the L.A. games. If he succeeded, he would be the first in 56 years. The competition was fierce, and his score on his final dive would determine the outcome. Years of training, waiting, and hoping would either be rewarded or crushed in the next few seconds.
It wasn’t the first time this young man had faced pressure. He had been given up by his birth mother and heard jeers from childhood peers that he was adopted. In addition, he was of mixed ethnicity – half Samoan and half Swedish – living in a community of blond-haired, blue-eyed Californians. He had heard taunts about his skin color, too.
To make matters worse, he stuttered and struggled to read. Some thought he had a low IQ. Turns out, he was dyslexic. Either way, he got teased about that as well.
The only place the boy found success was in diving. There, his body exhibited unparalleled strength and grace. Yet, he performed poorly in public events, his confidence always weak and trembling.
At 11, he began to crumble in another competition. His mother pulled him aside and offered some simple, but powerful words of reassurance. “I came to see you dive, not to win. I will love you no matter what.”
With the pressure to perform lifted, he went on to do well that day – and at every meet after that. It was 13 years later that Greg Louganis stood on the platform for that final dive for Olympic gold. When reporters asked him later what thoughts were running through his mind just before that dive, Louganis replied, “that no matter what happens, my mother will always love me.”
Always. That’s what love does.
Louganis won both gold medals that year. He returned 4 years later to become the first male diver to capture double gold medals in consecutive games. All because he knew that he was always loved.
You, too, are always loved, win or lose. “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Always. That’s the love God gives you. Share it with someone.
A Word from Williams Road is provided by the Williams Road Church.